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Exogenous ketones are a type of nutritional supplement that are seemingly all the rage online, especially within the ketogenic community.
As Keto continues to gain popularity, it’s no surprise that more companies are seeing this as a new business opportunity.
Are there any hidden dangers of using exogenous ketones? Do they do what they claim to do?
Here are some things to keep in mind before shelling out your hard-earned money on a ketone supplement.
More fuel than you need
On a standard Keto diet, the body naturally produces ketones when in a metabolic state of ketosis.
This is triggered when the body has burned through it's storage of glycogen and begins to utilize fat for energy.
Despite the claims, consuming exogenous ketones alone does not automatically put you into a ketogenic state.
This is actually just adding more work for the body, as it prioritizes EKs over most other energy sources.
Yes, that means that ketones can actually set you back in your weight loss goals and prevent you from burning fat!
Exogenous ketones are expensive AND profitable
Pricing for EKs vary greatly depending on the brand, but it’s not uncommon for each serving to total over $7.
The chemical components like ketone esters and beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB) salts are difficult and time consuming to extract in a lab.
While this may be true, the products are also extremely profitable, especially when coupled with aggressive marketing.
The biggest issues that I see with exogenous ketones are the predatory marketing tactics.
Throughout the years, this has evolved into a number of overblown claims like:
- A requirement to lose weight with Keto
- The ability to eat whatever you want and maintain ketosis
- The only way to beat the Keto Flu
None of these claims above are true.
Beginners often see these supplements as a requirement to follow Keto and that can sway them from even trying in the first place.
Companies that supply exogenous ketones typically run under a MLM (multi-level marketing) structure, which is a controversial subject in itself.
It's not uncommon to see influencers downing these supplements multiple times daily, often in exchange for free product without disclosure.
Ask questions and always be mindful of who and which companies are marketing to you.
What can you expect from taking ketone salts & esters?
While the initial claims are often overblown, some people do find benefits from exogenous ketones.
Most commonly, increased energy, focus and less hunger seem to be the biggest improvements.
It's important to note that these effects are also typical when following a standard ketogenic diet.
If you check your blood ketone levels, you'll also likely see an increase in ketones too.
This does not contribute to doing the ketogenic diet more effectively. Simply, it means that you're adding more fuel (ketones) for your body to burn through.
Some medical conditions may be improved by the use of exogenous ketones, like epilepsy, but more research is necessary.
If you can't stomach eating coconut oil, I highly recommend giving MCT oil powder a shot.
MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) are easily digested sources of fat that have been shown to contribute to weight loss and improvements in brain function.
Like EKs, MCT side effects also include increases in energy and alertness, improved blood sugar levels and satiation.
Downsides of MCT oil
Keep in mind that too much MCT oil can cause some negative side effects like nausea and diarrhea.
Because it's made entirely of fat, MCT oil also has a whopping 115 calories per tablespoon.
This can add up quickly if you find yourself using MCT oil often.
Who should use exogenous ketones?
As mentioned, there's potential benefits for specific medical conditions such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.
EKs can also be helpful for those who do not naturally create ketones efficiently and are overall lacking energy.
I could also see them being used as an appetite suppressant, though there are plenty of other more affordable options.
Though they may help certain medical conditions, for most people, exogenous ketones are a glorified energy drink.
They are not required for success on a Keto diet.
What are your thoughts on exogenous ketone supplements?